Page 2. " then you are skidding across the forest-green -carpeted hallway of a Motel 6 in Athens, Ohio, at 4.16a.m., Monday, August 6, 1981 "


A modern Motel 6
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA modern Motel 6 - Credit: Terry Ross

Motel 6 is a chain of budget motels in the United States and Canada. It was founded in Santa Barbara, California in 1962 by building contractors William Becker and Paul Greene. The name was derived from the fact that they only charged $6 per night, by the time Henry finds himself in a Motel 6 in 1981 the rooms cost $25 per night. 

According to the Motel 6 website there is currently no Motel 6 in Athens, Ohio.













Athens is the county seat of Athens County, Ohio, United States and the home of Ohio Univeristy.

Downtown Athens, Ohio
GNU Free Documentation LicenseDowntown Athens, Ohio - Credit: Ed













AUGUST 6TH, 1981

August 6th 1981 was a Thursday; 'Jessie's Girl' by Rick Springfield was number 1 in the US Charts, whilst ‘Green Door’ by Shakin’ Stevens was number 1 in the UK charts and Prince Charles and Princess Diana graced the cover of that week’s TIME magazine dated August 3rd. The July issue of Rolling Stone was still on the stands with Tom Petty on the cover alongside the caption “one man’s war against high record prices”. Earlier in the year Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were featured on Stevie Nicks’ track Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, that track was taken from her first solo album, Bella Donna, which was released on this day.


Page 2. " You wake up in the County Hospital concussed with a policeman sitting outside your door listening to the Phillies game on a crackly transistor radio. "

It is interesting that Niffenegger describes Henry as concussed here as the policeman could not have been listening to the Phillies game because, due to the 1981 Major League Baseball Strike, no games were played on August 6th. What Henry would have heard, however, was the Philadelphia Phillies being declared first half champions for the National League East Division; following an end to the two month strike, on August 6th the owners decided to split the 1981 season into two halves with the first-place teams from each half in each division meeting in a best-of-five divisional playoff series. The Phillies were joined by the New York Yankees, the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Dodgers who were declared winners of the American League East, American League West and National League West respectively in the first time that Major League Baseball used a split-season format since 1892. The first game played following the conclusion of the strike was the All-Star Game on August 9th.

The Los Angeles Dodgers ultimately went on to win the 1981 World Series defeating the New York Yankees in six games.

Page 3. " You are throwing up on some suburban geraniums, or you father's tennis shoes, or your very own bathroom floor three days ago, or a wooden sidewalk in Oak Park Illinois, circa 1903, or a tennis court on a fine autumn day in the 1950s, or your own naked feet in a wide variety of times and places. "


Oak Park, Illinois is a suburb bordering the west side of the city of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois. Today it is the twenty-fifth largest city in Illinois.

Google Maps showing Oak Park, Illinois.


In 1903 the village of Oak Park was just one year old having being formally established the previous year following a referendum disengaging it from Cicero. At that time esteemed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was a resident working out of his home and studio at 951 Chicago Avenue. He had moved there with his first wife in 1889 and had designed many of the homes in the area. Oak Park is now home to the largest collection of Wright-designed residential properties in the world.


Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Oak Park, Illinois
Public DomainFrank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Oak Park, Illinois

To see more of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes in Oak Park follow the link to Peter Beers' Frank Lloyd Wright Road Trips website.









A walk around Frank Lloyd Wright's homes  in Oak Park.


Oak Park is also the childhood home of author Ernest Hemmingway who was born there in 21st July 1899 the second child of doctor Clarence Edmonds Hemmingway and aspiring opera singer Grace Hall Hemmingway. He remained there through high school attending Oak Park and River Forest High School from 1913 to 1917 where he edited that Trapeze and the Tabula, the school's newspaper and yearbook respectively, before leaving to take up a position as a cub reporter at the Kansas City Star. He later referred to the place as one that had "wide lawns and narrow minds".


The birthplace of Ernest Hemingway in Oak Park, Chicago, Illinois.
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe birthplace of Ernest Hemingway in Oak Park, Chicago, Illinois. - Credit: Padraic Ryan


Page 7. " I have never been in the Newberry Library before, and now that I have gotten past the dark, foreboding entrance I am excited. "


Chicago's Newberry Library is located at 60 West Walton Street looking on to Washington Square Park 


Official Newberry Library Website